#MumbaiDrugBust: Aryan Khan, others denied bail by Mumbai court
The Esplanade Court, Mumbai, rejected the bail pleas of Aryan Khan (Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan's son), Arbaaz Merchant, and Munmun Dhamecha, who were arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Saturday after a raid was conducted on a cruise ship they were on board. Yesterday, the court sent them to 14-day judicial custody, which ends on October 20. Here are more details.
The hearing started a little late than scheduled. The initial argument put forth by the Additional Solicitor General of India Anil Singh was about "maintainability." In other words, the bail petitions filed had possible errors and hence couldn't be entertained. Satish Maneshinde, representing the star kid in this case, opposed this stand and held an August verdict that was given by a sessions court.
The celebrities' go-to lawyer reiterated that there was nothing against his client, Aryan, except "WhatsApp messages which your honor has disregarded for judicial custody." Maneshinde highlighted that there was no conflict in this, hence the court didn't "refer to larger bench." "I let go of bail on the first day. I thought they will take a linear view considering there's nothing against me."
"I've been found with nothing, but so much capital is being made out of it," Maneshinde repeated. In his reply, Singh emphasized NCB isn't against their bail pleas but is "opposing their (accused) right to claim bail in this court...Your honor held in October 4 remand order that all NDPS offenses are non-bailable." This time too, Rhea Chakraborty's case was brought up as a reference.
Singh also shot down claims that Aryan, Dhamecha, and Merchant did not contact each other that day. "Their statements show they (accused) met before leaving," he said while adding, "The communication will show that they aren't new to using these contraband. Therefore it's not a coincidence." He also brought up the "football chats" between Merchant and Aryan where "bulk quantities" were talked of.
Singh also showed the "specific information," as asked by the court, on the basis of which the NCB raid was held. Opposing the bail, he said, "Suppose the persons are released, then it is a very likelihood of interference in witness and tampering of evidence."
"This is all about connection, conspiracy, and link," Singh added. After a long hearing, the court denied their bail. Before all this, the 23-year-old and others underwent testing for COVID-19. Their tests came back negative and all of them were shifted to Arthur Road jail, and hence did not attend the court hearing. They will be lodged there while in custody.
To give a refresher, the central agency had conducted a surprise raid on Saturday on Cordelia Cruises' Empress Ship, after which Aryan and others were arrested. They were sent to NCB custody until yesterday. Reportedly, after their search on Saturday, the agency found drugs such as cocaine (13gm), mephedrone (5gm), hashish (21gm), and MDMA (ecstasy) (22 pills) on the cruise ship during the bust.